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COUNTDOWN TO KICKOFF: York High Bearcats

Patrick Strohecker
505-5402/@P_Strohecker
  • York High went 0-10 in 2015, its first winless season since 2003.
  • Russell Stoner enters his first year as coach of the Bearcats. He last coached Spring Grove in 2014.
  • Stoner won a Y-A League Division I title with the Rockets in 2012.

This is the 16th installment of our daily preview capsules leading up to the start of the York-Adams League high school football season on Friday, Sept. 2.

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Who: York High Bearcats.

2015 record: 0-10 overall, 0-7 York-Adams Division I.

Coach: Russell Stoner, first season

Key returners (Division I All-Stars in bold): Durvel Wilson, senior, wide receiver/safety; Marcus Mitchell, senior, offensive line/defensive line; Khalid Dorsey, junior, running back/cornerback.

Notable losses (Division I All-Stars in bold): Justin Colston, senior, quarterback; Jose Santiago-Curet, senior, quarterback/wide receiver/defensive back.

2016 schedule (Division I games in bold): Sept. 2 at Reading (7 p.m.); Sept. 9 vs. J.P. McCaskey (7 p.m.); Sept. 16 at Cedar Cliff (7 p.m.); Sept. 23 vs. Red Lion (7 p.m.); Sept. 30 at Dallastown (7 p.m.); Oct. 7 vs. Spring Grove (7 p.m.); Oct. 14 vs. Northeastern (7 p.m.); Oct. 21 at South Western (7 p.m.); Oct. 28 vs. New Oxford (7 p.m.); Nov. 4 at Central York (7 p.m.)

Outlook: The 2016 season for York High can only be better than the 2015 campaign.

Last year was a complete disaster for the Bearcats. They suffered a winless season for the first time since 2003 and saw players continuously walk off the field and leave the team. To no surprise, head coach Shawn Heinold was not brought back during the offseason and new athletic director Ronald Coursey hired Stoner to lead the team, coming back after a one-year hiatus in 2015. Stoner was the head coach for four years at Spring Grove from 2011-14, winning a Division I title in 2012. It’s up to Stoner to help bring back the York High pride. It starts by getting players to re-commit themselves to the program.

There’s no doubt that if Stoner can get players to come out for the team, he’s getting some of the best pure athletes in the league. And, if Stoner’s words from media day in early August are any indication, he’s getting kids to buy into whatever he’s selling. Numbers have been up during offseason workouts and in the early stages of preseason practices. Unfortunately, it’s hard to picture the Bearcats drastically improving this year from last year, at least record-wise. Maybe they can pull off a win or two, but this year will be more about Stoner establishing a trust among the players and keeping their spirits positive, even if wins don’t follow in droves.

Stoner has big goals for struggling York High program

Coach speak: “I was really looking forward to a challenge, one, but as I’ve gotten to know all these guys and be with all these guys, it’s not much of a challenge. They work extremely hard and bought into what we’re trying to do.” — Stoner.

— Reach Patrick Strohecker at pstrohecker@yorkdispatch.com